Current Mentored Research Career Development (KL2) Scholars

Marisa Lopez-Cruzan, PhD was recently chosen for a CTSA supplement that will facilitate her career development after a non-research hiatus.  This is a training/research program that comprises mentoring, didactics, and a translational research project in alignment with the goals and objectives of the CTSA parent grant.  As a result of this training/research program, Dr. Lopez-Cruzan will become part of the workforce of interdisciplinary biomedical scientists dedicated to translational work in alcohol and drug addiction.  She will have submitted peer-reviewed manuscripts, an institutional or foundation grant, and an NIH R-series or DoD grant application for federal funding to further advance the findings generated during this training.The primary purpose of the Biological Psychiatry Analytical Lab (BPAL), of which Dr. Lopez-Cruzan is now a member and which Dr. Javors has directed for over 30 years, is to provide analytical measurements of drugs in biological tissues for a wide variety of biomedical research studies. The BPAL serves as the core lab for several funded grants, research projects, and centers.The overarching goal of this supplement is to establish Dr. Lopez-Cruzan in an academic track that positions her well for an ongoing and successful career emerging from her research and mentoring in the Biological Psychiatry Analytical Laboratory (BPAL) within the Department of Psychiatry. Moreover, Dr. Lopez-Cruzan will take full advantage of the extensive career development resources and expertise that exist within the Institute for Integration of Medicine & Science (IIMS).

Bertha “Penny” Flores, PhD, APRN, WHNP-BC, is an Assistant Professor at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio School of Nursing, Department of Family & Community Health Systems, and member of the Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH) Center.  Dr. Flores received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and Masters of Science in Nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston. She completed her PhD degree focused on women’s health from the University of Texas at Austin where she received the Outstanding Graduate Award. Her professional achievements include selection as a John A. Hartford Foundation Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity (BAGNC) Scholar, a STAR Fellow at the University of North Texas Center Health Science Center (UNTHSC), the Early Career Cancer Health Disparities Scholarship, and the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR), 2015 Summer Genetics Institute Research Training Award. Born in Coahuila, Mexico, Dr. Flores is passionate about improving women’s lives. Her research interests include cancer health disparities, health literacy, culture, and language with a focus on Hispanic women. Dr. Flores special interest is in cervical cancer screening and prevention. She is the principal investigator on funded projects addressing Hispanic cultural incentives and deterrents to cervical cancer screening and prevention. Through her KL2 project Dr. Flores will gather patient-centered data employing a mix-method research design with focus group interviews and survey data to create, implement and test an educational intervention aimed at improving cervical cancer screening among Hispanic women. Her goal is to become an independent researcher in cancer health disparities with expertise in translational science and mixed-methods. Ultimately, her long-term goal is to improve the quality of life of Hispanic women.

Colleen Jay, M.D. is a transplant surgeon with the University Transplant Center  specializing in liver, kidney, and pancreas transplantation and an Assistant Professor of  Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.  She is the acting  surgical director of pancreas transplantation and the living kidney donor program. Dr. Jay  earned her medical degree from Indiana University School of Medicine in 2005. She  completed a general surgery residency at Northwestern McGaw Medical Center in  Chicago.  During her time there, she also obtained a Masters of Science degree in Clinical  Investigation from Northwestern University.  In 2014, Dr. Jay completed a fellowship in  liver, kidney, and pancreas transplantation at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.  Dr. Jay has  completed and continues to engage in numerous research projects examining clinical outcomes and survival after liver and kidney transplantation with a particular focus on allocation and policy issues.  She has worked extensively with large databases including the UNOS and SRTR national transplant registry data examining issues related to the optimal allocation and utilization of non-ideal allografts.

Kathryn Kanzler, PsyD

Kathryn E. Kanzler, PsyD,  ABPP, is an Assistant Professor in the Departments of Psychiatry & Famlily and Community Medicine, and is a member of the Research to Advance Community Health (ReACH) Center. Dr. Kanzler is a board-certified Clinical Health Psychologist and Director of Integrated Primary Care for the UT Medicine Primary Care Center. She earned her Doctor of Psychology in Clinical Psychology in 2007 from La Salle University in Philadelphia and completed her predoctoral and postdoctoral training at Wilford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, TX. She served as a USAF Active Duty psychologist for over eight years. While serving in the military, Dr. Kanzler provided training and supervision for pre-doctoral clinical psychology students in clinical health psychology and integrated behavioral health in primary care; she was also engaged in several clinical research teams. During her Clinical Health Psychology Fellowship, Dr. Kanzler was the recipient of DoD grant-funding for project ESCAPE (Evaluating Suicidality, Cognitions And Pain Experiences). As a result of her experiences, she developed a strong interest in pursuing clinical research as a career. The focus of Dr. Kanzler’s KL2 project is to investigate the feasibility of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) for patients with chronic pain using a Patient Centered Medical Home clinical pathway. She specifically seeks to learn whether ACT reduces physical disability and medication misuse when delivered by an integrated behavioral health clinician in primary care. Her career development plan will focus on transitioning to independent investigator status by focusing on patient centered research design, biostatistics and grant-writing. Dr. Kanzler’s long-term career plans are to become a leading investigator of integrated behavioral healthcare delivery and treatment methods in primary care. 

Jennifer Knudtson, MD photo

Jennifer Knudtson, M.D. is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Dr. Knudtson earned her B.S. in Biochemistry from the University of Texas at Austin and her Medical degree from the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston. She completed her residency and fellowship at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Knudtson’s research focuses on endometriosis and fertility preservation. She was awarded the Society for Reproductive Investigation’s New Investigator award in 2015. She has also received research grants from Vivere Health and the American Society for Reproductive Medicine. The goal of her KL2 project is to delineate the involvement of CD44 in the early endometriotic lesion.  Dr. Knudtson’s long-term career goal is to become an independently funded physician scientist whose research improves endometriosis patients’ quality of life. 


Alvaro Moreira, MD

Alvaro Moreira, M.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Division of Neonatology at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Moreira received his undergraduate degree from the University of Texas, El Paso where he graduated with Honors in Microbiology. He completed his medical school, pediatric residency, and neonatology fellowship at the University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston. Dr. Moreira is currently enrolled as a student in the Master’s of Science Clinical Investigation and Translational Science Program at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Moreira’s research interests have focused on neonatal lung disease and regenerative medicine. The objective of his KL2 project is to examine the role of preconditioning stem cells to improve lung growth and development in preterm infants. His long-term career goal is to become a successful independent physician-scientist who discovers new, targeted therapeutic approaches to improve neonatal lung disease. 


STacy Ryan, PhD. photo

Stacy R. Ryan, Ph.D., is a researcher and licensed clinical psychologist.  Dr. Ryan currently holds the position of Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.  She is a graduate of Emory University (B.A., M.A., and Ph.D.).  Dr. Ryan completed a NIDA T32 post-doctoral research fellowship in the Center for Addiction Research at the Psychiatric Research Institute of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Dr. Ryan has expertise in the study of developmental psychopathology and uses this knowledge to guide research focused on how evidence-based treatments modify relations among parent and adolescent risk and protective factors for substance use and related externalizing psychopathology.  Dr. Ryan is particularly interested in the utility of evidence-based treatments for ethnic minority and underserved populations. She is project manager of an innovative program (Texas 1115 Medicaid Transformation Waiver) that aims to reform how care is delivered to low-income populations.  Through this program, Dr. Ryan is building a treatment and research clinic that (a) evaluates evidence-based treatments in an ethnic minority, low income population and (b) uses mobile technology to enhance evidence-based treatments.  Dr. Ryan has participated as a research collaborator (co-investigator) with colleagues on studies that focus on disseminating evidence-based treatments to community-based settings and on studies of adapting treatments for low-income populations. Dr. Ryan will serve as Site-PI of a R01 that will examine the use of contingency management to increase parental engagement in adolescent drug courts.  Through her KL2 project, Dr. Ryan will design and test a text messaging program that targets parenting behaviors that are highly related to adolescent outcomes. Her long-term goal is to be a leading expert in developing and implementing interventions that can be mass delivered at low cost to low-income populations

Susanne Schmidt, PhD

Susanne Schmidt, PhD, is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow for Health Services Research and Evaluation in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio. Dr. Schmidt received her Diplom in Demography from the University of Rostock, Germany where she also received additional training at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research focusing on quantitative methods for evaluating disparities in public health. She then obtained her PhD in Applied Demography with a concentration in health outcomes from the University of Texas at San Antonio in 2013. Her dissertation focused on disparities in injury morbidity and mortality in vulnerable populations in the US. During her degree program and postdoctoral fellowship, she has developed a strong interest in quantitative methods to examine disparities in vulnerable populations, particularly in terms of access to healthcare and health outcomes. The focus of her KL2 project is to examine to what extent healthcare policy changes have enhanced the Medicare Disproportionate Share Hospital program to help alleviate disparities in both access to appropriate care and outcomes for disadvantaged breast cancer patients.